Eileen McMahon Says Health Canada Warnings to Cannabis Companies Do Not "Come as Much of a Surprise"

July 16, 2018

Partner Eileen McMahon's comments about Health Canada’s concerns over cannabis companies’ sponsorships of music festivals and events have been picked up by multiple news outlets, including BBN Bloomberg, CTV, and CityNews.

Eileen said with legalization still a few months away, the market is seeing experimentation from companies, particularly to find a way around the strict marketing and advertising regulations set to be enforced.

She said recent warnings issued by Health Canada—which highlighted music festivals in particular—did not “come as much of a surprise.”

Health Canada responded to licensed medical marijuana producers sponsoring these events by issuing a statement indicating it is flagging companies who are promoting themselves in ways that violate the Cannabis Act (i.e., marketing to minors).

Eileen told the media these companies are “attempting to get their brand names into public consciousness before they expect regulations to be enforced."

“This is an opportunity where companies say, ‘What is legal and illegal under current law? What is grey and in the grey area? And can we play there in a way that’s defensible?’” she said.

So far, Health Canada has said it is “reviewing the actions of existing licensed producers and will be taking every possible step to bring them into compliance or prevent non-compliance with existing laws.”

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